What You Need to Know About a New Mexico Self-Defense Claim

In the state of New Mexico, you have the right to defend yourself and your home against someone. Not all acts against a person pass as an act of self-defense.

New Mexico’s General Jury Instructions, UHI 14-5190, states that a person doesn’t have to retreat in an attack. The attacked person has the right to defend themselves and stand their ground. This is why it’s called the “Stand Your Ground” rule.

Under UJI 14-5190, you may defend your property with a reasonable amount of force as well.

When your attorney prepares your criminal defense, they will have to convince the jury that you were standing your ground.

If you were involved in such a case in New Mexico, it’s time to contact a criminal defense attorney. 

Stand Your Ground Rules

A stand your ground rule means that the person honestly believed they were threatened with serious injury or death, which provoked their use of excessive force (even if they could have retreated). Many states have the stand your ground law, including New Mexico.

If you feel attacked you can defend yourself with any type of weapon. The jury instructions don’t require that you only stand your ground using a gun.

New Mexico has the stand your ground laws, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be arrested and charged with homicide or intentional manslaughter if you shot and killed the person who attacked you. In some cases (although it’s rare), the death was an act of self-defense.

The police may take you in for questioning and arrest you if they believe there is probable cause. A prosecutor may continue with the case if they believe you didn’t have a base for self-defense.

You Should Prove That Stand Your Ground Laws Apply in Your Case

Although you have the right to defend yourself, you can’t just kill another person and then simply claim that it was self-defense. If that was the case, you won’t be free of criminal charges. Here’s what your attorney will have to prove to the jury that what you did was justified:

  • The reasonable threat of serious injury or death – You must prove that there was a reasonable threat against your safety or life. In case a person came at you without a weapon, and they weren’t physically attacking you, what you did won’t be justified. Furthermore, if you decided to shoot the person that was threatening you (even after they decided to leave), your deed wouldn’t be justified (nor the threat was reasonable). When the person decided to leave, you had no reasonable fear, so there was no reason for you to shoot.
  • You used a reasonable use of force to avoid the threat – The threat must be equal to the force used to stop the threat. If you bring a weapon and the person who threatening you have none, using that weapon may be considered unreasonable because the chances of your life being in danger or serious injury don’t justify the use of a firearm against an unarmed person.
  • You didn’t initiate the fight – Another crucial factor is whether you were the instigator of the encounter. Your defense won’t be strong in case you began the fight, and then attempt to justify injuring another person with self-defense claims. You have to be the victim by the stand your ground laws.

When to Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney about Your Stand Your Ground Defense

If you were involved in a case where you had to defend yourself and you injured or killed another person because you were standing your ground for yours or the safety of your property, you may have a self-defense claim.

However, don’t assume that things will work out just like that. Make sure you contact a criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer will review your case and will prepare your defense. They will have a challenging job to convince the jury that what you did was the only way to come out of the situation alive.

In the end, the jury will decide if your use of force was justified and this means that the jury has the opportunity to look back at your actions and decide as to what they feel you should have done.

Our team at FBD Law has experience working on such cases. Our lawyers are dedicated and determined to help our clients get the best outcome. Don’t let time pass by; we are here for you.

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